At present, there have been hundreds of watery rescues and as many as seven people have lost their lives due to the historic flooding in parts of South Carolina over the weekend. Numerous sources [within the AP](http://link http://news.yahoo.com/stories-survival-emerge-east-coast-rainstorm-090357765.html) have relayed tales of survival from the residents who were blindsided by this epic deluge. More than 18 inches of rainfall drenched Columbia and neighboring cities, most of which fell in a 24 hour period. The resulting surge in local waterways flooded hundreds of businesses and homes. And while this was not “Katrina” level event, some South Carolina residents have lost everything.
Stories of heroism have come in, as firefighters and other first responders have had to chop their way into homes to free the trapped occupants. And civilians have gone the extra distance to save their neighbors, one man ferrying his neighbors to safety in a small motorboat. No doubt, we’ll hear more stories in these days that follow the receding waters. And these stories all illustrate the sudden whims of nature and the value of being prepared for storms. Here are three things that you can do to guard yourself and your family from situations just like this one.
1. Buy A Weather Radio
Staying on top of current events and warnings can be vital to your family’s safety. A simple weather radio can provide life-saving information, such as evacuation orders, instructions to seek shelter, and other critical directions. Here’s what you should look for in a weather radio:
• Weatherband settings, so you can pick up your local signal from the NOAA
• AM/FM radio
• Battery operated for portability, with alternate power sources, like a hand crank or solar panel
• Water resistance or water proofing
2. Don’t Walk Or Drive Through Moving Water
Flooding is the chief cause of death associated with storms, accounting for more than 90 fatalities each year in the U.S. More than half of these losses occur when vehicles are driven into dangerous flood waters, especially at night when visibility is hampered. Just 2 feet of fast moving water can sweep away most vehicles, even SUVs and trucks. And forget about trying to wade through swift flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of fast rushing water to knock a person down and sweep them away.
3. Keep a Disaster Kit in Your Home
It’s always a good idea to make certain that you have some supplies to tide you over in case the utilities are out for a while. Your emergency supplies are your lifeline. No, you don’t need a warehouse full of stuff, but you should at least have the basics, which include the following items:
• Water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, and a manual can opener
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags with ties, feminine supplies, and personal hygiene items
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Local maps
• Cell/mobile phone with solar or battery charger
• Prescription medications and spare glasses (as needed)
• Baby formula, wipes, ointment and plenty of diapers (if you have little people)
• Pet food and extra water for your pet
• Cash in small bills (20’s, 10’s and 5’s)
• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
• Spare clothes and a sleeping bag or blanket for each person. Have some thin sheets for hot climates and warm weather.
• Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper . When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe, or bleaches with added cleaners.
• Lighters; matches in a waterproof container or similar fire starters; and a fire extinguisher
• Mess kits; or paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
• Paper and pencil for notes; books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
• And finally, keep some morale boosters, such as your favorite treats or inspirational items